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No Lone Limbs!

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

“For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body.” – I Corinthians 12:14-15

Paul begins this great section on the Body of Christ by comparing the human body with the spiritual body of Christ, the Church. Both of them, he says, have “many members” but “one body.” Part of his point is that we are united and inextricably connected by our common calling to follow the Head, Jesus himself.

And as parts of his body, we need each other! None of us – not the most important, the best looking, or the strongest – was designed to follow Christ on his own (vv.21-24). There are to be, in that sense, no lone limbs in the body of Christ; no Christian was intended to survive, much less thrive, outside of deep connectedness to others. Our dependence on the glory and strength of our great Head is followed closely by our inter-dependence upon each other as parts with different gifts, different roles, and different functions in the body. 

Two brief applications of these truths for small group leaders: First, thank you for investing your time and energy in making this mutual dependence and connectedness a priority. It is not a priority you dreamed up or Southwood hoisted upon you; rather, it is the way Jesus designed the body of his bride to function. Be encouraged that in the moments when it doesn’t seem worth the effort, you are indeed working on a critical piece of what it looks like for us to be the body of Christ.

Secondly, small group leaders are not exempt from the reality that there are “no lone limbs” in the body. Leadership can be a lonely place by its very nature at times. Remind yourself regularly that you need to function in this inter-dependence as well. You can’t say you don’t need the rest of the body any more than the “neediest” member of your group. If you lead from that posture, your group will feel the difference and will likely feel their own need for the body more acutely from seeing or hearing about your need.


Dave | October 11 2014 at 2:34 pm

What if the leader is actually also the “neediest” person in the group for real?

will.spink | October 31 2014 at 11:13 am

Then that is REALLY good … makes for a great small group … all the ones I’ve ever led have worked that way!

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Recommended Reading

You'll find most of my recommended books available in the Guest Center at Southwood.

  • You Can Change
    You Can Change
    Tim Chester

    How do we mortify sin? How do we address the sin in our lives that reignite like a trick birthday candle we thought we had already blown out of our lives? This is a careful and thoroughly theological book that is hopeful without avoiding honesty. It is practical without being legalistic. It gets to the root of the sinful areas of our lives without offering a prescriptive regimen to hide behind avoiding the grace that has the only true power to teach “us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” Titus 2:11-14

  • Relationships: A Mess Worth Making
    Relationships: A Mess Worth Making
    Timothy Lane & Paul Tripp

    Small groups would be easy if weren’t for the people in the group! This book will help equip you to see your own sin first and provide the courage and humility to address it in others.

  • The Heart of a Servant Leader

    This is a collection of letters written by Jack Miller to people experiencing real-life concerns and struggles. Through these gracious and honest letters you will learn how to humbly offer to others (and yourself!) hope, repentance, and courage that flows from the truth of the gospel of grace.  Though this isn’t a “how to” book full of nifty steps to Your Best Gospel Life Now. It’s a glimpse into the heart of a person who has found food at the Cross, and you watch (and learn) as he humbly points others to the feast.

  • Comforts From The Cross
    Comforts From The Cross
    Elyse M. Fitzpatrick

    This 31 day devotional will bring you to the foot of the cross to remember and celebrate the truth of the gospel of grace, and develop skills that will help “inform, free, gladden, and enliven your soul every day.” Becoming proficient in applying the Gospel of grace to our own hearts is a key skill that is well worth our effort to develop.

Recommended Listening

  • Christ PCA - Nashville
    Scott Sauls and CPC Staff

    Listen to sermons from Senior Pastor Scott Sauls and other CPC pastors at a sister church.

  • Lookout Mountain PCA
    Joe Novenson and LMPC Staff

    Check out sermons by Senior Pastor Joe Novenson and other LMPC pastors at a sister church.

  • Steve Brown Etc.
    Steve Brown

    Steve Brown’s unique blend of orthodoxy and controversy, humor and profundity, and a refusal to play religious games will give you permission you have needed to stop being so uptight. And even if it’s for 30 minutes, you just might experience radical freedom, infectious joy and maybe even a bit of surprising faithfulness.

Recommended Links

  • Tim Chester: reformed spirituality and missional church
    Tim Chester

    Tim has an incredible way of applying the Gospel of grace that is both practical and honest with a consistent skillful affinity to point us to Jesus. He is director of The Porterbrook Institute; a church planter with The Crowded House in Sheffield, UK; and the author of over a dozen books including Total Church and You Can Change.

  • Of First Importance
    Living Each Day in the Good of The Gospel

    Here you will find a growing collection of gospel-centered quotes to help reorient your thoughts toward the splendor and grandeur of the person and work of Jesus.